How we paid off $35k of debt & still had fun

When we got married in July 2009 it was hard to be in wedding bliss for long. At age 21 & 26 we were instantly suffocated by over $50,000 in consumer debt! One of the greatest blessings of being self aware is knowing what makes you happy. Brandon and I weren’t very happy being slaves to monthly payments. After 2 years of some job changes and finding our niche, we got a game plan together. After a surprise pregnancy and only paying off $15,000 in those 2 years we had to pause. We paused so I could finish school and be a stay-at-home mom. Once we had 2 good incomes we would tackle the $35k, and that’s exactly what we did. Click here to find out more.


You always hear the stories of people getting out of debt. They usually consist of people selling off all of their stuff, working 3 jobs, and eating ramen noodles for 3 years right? WRONG! I could not do that! I needed to find a balance of paying off debt without wanting to kill myself. Being self aware is crucial in this journey. Finding out what makes you truly happy will allow you to give up the things that are not only draining your pocket book but your time & energy. For example, if you love to fish and golf figure out which one makes you come alive. Which one brings you the most happiness? If you love both, but can’t afford both because you’re getting out of debt, you have to choose between the two. If you can’t give one or the other up than your passion for getting out of debt isn’t greater than your passion for golf or fishing. 

This is the part that stings and usually keeps people in debt, because they are afraid of giving up the fun now and being miserable. It’s simply not true! Yes you do have to give up a lot, but you don’t have to give up the thing that provides you the most joy. Having that happiness will give you the fuel you need to pay off the debt as fast as possible. For me that thing that brought me the most joy was my love for the outdoors. Which worked out because it happens to be a very inexpensive passion & I will go into detail on that in another post. I could live without new nails, my hair getting done, gym memberships, and going out with friends. I didn’t love those things like I loved hiking, camping, etc. As I said before being self aware is huge in getting out of debt. Once you figure out what makes you thrive, you will want more of that  and less of all the crap that has kept you from doing what you love!

So in the middle of dropping $2K to $3K a month on debt and eating cheap homemade meals, we’d load a picnic basket up ($20 worth of snacks & food), and head to the great outdoors. We would have a blast! It recharged our batteries, and made the huge sacrifices worth it. Caidon may not have got to go to Incredible Pizza or MAIN EVENT , however he did get to see some awesome waterfalls and go fishing!


Paying off debt is a difficult road not many people take. I encourage everyone to become debt free and experience a freedom that the majority of people will never experience. You find out that all the crap you’re holding onto is actually what’s holding you back from true happiness.  How do you pay off $35K in 18 months and not go crazy? Get your butt on a budget, become self aware of what you love the most and give up all the other crap you don’t, & never be above any job! Now we get to do all the things we gave up for 18 months for the rest of our lives. Check out our full interview with Dave Ramsey.

-Caitie

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